Top NFT Artists Are Launching Projects on Instagram and Selling Out in Seconds
The platform has facilitated successful NFT drops from artists including Micah Johnson, Drifter Shoots and Refik Anadol, bridging the gap between Web2 platforms and Web3 technology.
Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms in the world, with around 2 billion monthly active users. Early last year, its parent company Meta Platforms began testing out non-fungible token (NFT) sharing, allowing select users to connect to their digital wallets and showcase NFTs that they either created or bought.
The feature gained traction as NFT creators and collectors saw future opportunities to present their digital assets to a wider audience of Web3-curious consumers. Some even suggested that Instagram's planned support could help NFTs finally reach mainstream adoption because of its expansive reach.
Encouraged by positive feedback and eager to embrace the creator economy, Instagram slowly started expanding its Digital Collectibles feature, allowing select digital artists to begin minting and selling NFTs directly on the platform.
The addition of NFT trading for a platform like Instagram makes sense considering its huge global audience. The feature exposes users to Web3 concepts, many for the first time, in a way that doesn't add friction to Instagram's core business model. Users on Instagram also pay for NFTs in fiat currency, eliminating an otherwise challenging on-ramp for Web3 newcomers.
But attracting a Web3-native audience poses more challenges. Would seasoned NFT collectors be interested in purchasing assets sold on a highly centralized, Web2 platform? In addition, Instagram in-app purchases are subject to steep fees between 15% to 30% from Apple and Google, resulting in a smaller profit for sellers.
Despite this, early NFT sales on the platform have been a success, with collections selling out quickly. Instagram's strategy of recruiting well-known NFT artists to tout the new feature has worked in two ways – it enticed NFT collectors and helped to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 users.
While blockchain natives may have been skeptical of Instagram's foray into Web3, the platform's partnership with well-known NFT artists has helped instill confidence across communities. Drifter Shoots (aka Isaac Wright), Refik Anadol, Amber Vittoria, Dave Krugman and Micah Johnson have each launched NFTs through Instagram over the past few months, selling out each time.
"Digital collectibles make a lot of sense when you consider where many of us do our social signaling," Krugman wrote in a post on Instagram teasing his first NFT drop in November.
Other popular NFT artists, such as Maliha Abidi and Bobby Hundreds, have used the platform to show off their NFT creations, praising the feature as an accessible way to reach prospective buyers.
"We're stoked to usher in the feature, not only because it brings up the conversation of NFTs to the platform, but because it gives us the chance to re-educate the bright future we see ahead for NFTs and Web3," Adam Bomb Squad, Bobby Hundreds' NFT collection, wrote in a post showing off one of its signature characters.
There often exists an awkward relationship when traditional Web2 companies are looking to use a Web3 toolkit. Their efforts to release NFTs or buy land in the metaverse are sometimes seen as "PR stunts" that pander to Web3 enthusiasts, and are not always well-received.
With so much hype surrounding an image-first social network embracing blockchain art, Instagram has made sure to introduce digital collectibles in ways that feel organic to both its mainstream audience and Web3 natives. For example, Instagram users can share NFTs in their feed the way they would any other image, but there's also a dedicated tab for digital collectibles to create both a sense of integration and separation of content.
Reflecting this, the platform chose the Polygon blockchain to initially launch its Digital Collectibles feature, a move that aligns with the layer 2 blockchain company's stated goal of becoming a "funnel" for Web2 brands looking to jump into Web3.
“We’ve built this great funnel for partners to come through and make the onboarding to Polygon really seamless,” Polygon CEO Ryan Wyatt told CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover” last month.